Aug 25 2010

Avatar and Creation

“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1

morning glory 811While on my recent trip to the Pacific Northwest I spent some time photographing in the Hoh Rain Forest found within Olympic National Park.  While taking pictures of a beautiful scene a woman walked up to me and said, “It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?  Just like something out of the movie Avatar.”  I responded in some polite fashion but after she left I found myself thinking that her thought processes were a bit backwards.  She was comparing the glorious beauty of God’s Creation with a high tech animated world from a hit movie.  It would seem that any worthy comparison would have to start first with Creation.  Perhaps this is simply a sign that we live in a world where reality and fantasy often overlap.

mushroom top 791Later I thought some more about the woman’s comment.  I got the impression that it would take something as stunning as the Hoh Rain Forest to evoke awe in this individual.  I have a feeling that she is not used to seeing the beauty in her everyday surroundings.  This, of course, is a problem for a lot of people.  We are too busy to really take notice of the wonders of Creation all around us.  Or perhaps we are unwilling to look closer.

Orb Weaver 801With these thoughts in mind I walked outside my house this afternoon and took three of the pictures you see here.  In the top picture what might look like an astral background in the movie Avatar is actually a close up image of a morning glory next to my house.  The second image that resembles a lunar landscape is the top of a mushroom growing beside my driveway.  The orb weaver to the left has been hanging out (literally) at our pool house for several weeks.   I guess she can represent the scary creatures we typically see in fantasy movies.    The bird photograph below was taken this past Saturday.  As we prepared to go swimming we noticed an alien creature stalking the pool.  Turned out it was only an immature green heron.  A friend told me the bird was migrating and likely stopped by the pool to see if there were any fish in it.

green heron  779I enjoyed the movie Avatar and was encouraged by its environmental message.  The visual imagery was stunning.  Still, when it comes to beauty and excitement, I’ll take the wonderful world God has already given us any day.  For those with eyes to see, nothing can compare to God’s handiwork!


Aug 8 2010


ONP 116It has been my pleasure to spend the past five days in Olympic National Park. An equal joy has been the opportunity to spend this time with Pat O’Hara and his wife Tina. Pat is a well-known nature photographer who has served as a mentor and source of inspiration for my photography for the past eighteen years. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to him!

ONP 018Being with Pat this week has given me a chance to reflect on some of the people who have most helped me in the art or discipline of “seeing Creation” photographically. There have been numerous persons that have influenced me but three in particular come to mind.

I have heard more than one professional photographer say that Pat O’Hara has “the best eyes in the business.” He truly does have a gift for seeing the natural world from a unique perspective. My “eyes” will never be as good as Pat’s but his work inspires me to try to look beyond what others see.

Rob Sheppard, my blogging partner, has been yet another important mentor for me. Rob, too, has a unique approach to photography and seeing Creation. I’ve learned to see things differently reading his books and watching him practice his “down and dirty” approach to photography. He has also taught me to try to consider my surroundings more.

ONP 923Bill Fortney is the third person I would identify as an important mentor. Bill’s photography is wonderful in many ways but I particularly admire the way he is able to isolate portions of a scene and create interesting compositions. He does this whether he is photographing nature, an old train depot or items at an antique store. He has taught me to look closer at the scenes before me.

When it comes to seeing Creation it truly does help to have mentors. They certainly don’t have to be photographers, just folks who are more aware than most of the beauty found in God’s Creation. On this particular day I give thanks for Pat, Rob, Bill and all the others who have helped me see the wonders of God’s handiwork better. I hope I can somehow do the same for others.


(The Olympic marmot, Hoh Rain forest scene, and wildflower display were all taken this past week in Olympic National Park.)